Essential Prop Kit for Christmas
This holiday season, ask for something that will last for a lifetime: a yoga prop kit for your home practice. Come January, you'll be looking to enroll in streaming video classes and you'll need to have equipment. See our recommendations for a short list of the props you'll need for Iyengar yoga classes.
A Yoga Chair. Serious students have two. The most handy item for your yoga practice is a metal folding chair with the back removed. It's possible to make one yourself. We include a video a metal here if you want to see how it's done. A yoga chair is not just for sitting. Entire books have been written about the myriad ways of practicing asana with a chair. If you don't want to make one yourself, we've got them for sale at $45 plus tax, available for pick up.
A Cotton Bolster: Bolsters are great for seated, supine postures, and inverted postures. We have premium 100% cotton bolsters from India, for $55 plus tax. Pictured left, bolsters are cylindrical stuffed pillows that support the body in countless ways. They are not just for relaxation! The person shown at right is actually working very deliberately! If you're serious, you need two. To begin your classes, you can make due with one, so long as you have a set of 5 blankets.
Yoga Blankets, are also very important. They are essential for shoulder stand. Yoga Blankets can be used in place of a bolster in many cases. Pictured left are two Indian cotton blankets folded for head support. You will need at least 5 of these, for shoulder stand. Ideally, blankets should be tightly woven and made of cotton, without fringes. Ours are $30 each, from Pune, India. Mexican blankets may also be used, but the disadvantages are fringe edges, polyester blend, and often a loose or non-uniform weave. The best size is 60" x 80".
Blocks are important for standing postures, and sometimes seated postures as well. Get a pair. Wooden blocks are traditional; we have them for $50 a pair. You might also like cork blocks. Foam blocks are cheap and unstable. We don't recommend them as your only pair. There are many uses for blocks, so get them. As you can see on the right, I am using four blocks and a long strap in this posture for pelvic conditioning.
One yoga belt makes a lot of postures possible; two or more are needed for therapeutic applications. You know all those poses that require grabbing the big toe? Aside from hamstring tightness, yoga belts are essential to work on opening the shoulder joint. The best belts are 100% cotton, from Pune. Ours are $10 for 2 meter, and $16 for 3m length. Long strap is pictured in the previous photo.
Don't settle for a cheap mat, but don't spend more than $50. You may already have a discount mat from a discount store, and in the short run this may work, if it sticks. Eventually you need a quality mat that is sticky, yet folds easily into different configurations. The best mats for yoga are the True Blue Mats, which are made in Germany. We use these exclusively in the studio at Alcove Yoga. You can get them in 2mm or 4mm thickness. I recommend the 2mm ones.
If you've already got your props, you're all set to sign up for class. Please visit us at www.alcoveyoga.com.